Engaging with organised sport

Adult participation in rugby league is as much about the social engagement as enjoyment of the sport itself.

Southern Zone Rugby League is a non-profit organisation that promotes, facilitates and develops rugby league, working closely with the six South Island districts and with New Zealand Rugby League. Until now Southern Zone Rugby League has worked mainly in the background supporting the districts, but wants to increase awareness of its role and improve promotion of the game in the south.

Applied Management student Daniel Webber undertook a research project to help Southern Zone Rugby League understand its customer base better. Daniel designed a questionnaire to survey members of southern rugby league clubs, which was distributed through the six southern districts. The average survey respondent was a male generally aged over 35 years old, married or partnered, with children. They are working in a coach or administrator role within their local rugby league community, and are attracted to the game because of the social qualities associated with rugby league as well as the enjoyment found within the game itself. They would like to see more articles and video content on the Southern Zone Rugby League Facebook page.

Daniel identified that as Facebook was the preferred digital platform of survey respondents, Southern Zone Rugby League should communicate its goals and objectives through the Facebook page, for example in the banner, and use Facebook as the primary method for implementing their strategic plan.

Southern Zone General Manager Steve Martin says:

"Having the opportunity of tapping into the Polytechnic to work with students on key research projects to assist decision making, has been invaluable for an organisation that has a very small staff without the time or resource to undertake this type of study itself." 


Image credit: vjpaul, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0